British Junior Open cancelled due to COVID-19
England Squash has announced the cancellation of the 2022 British Junior Open for the second year in a row due to the ongoing restrictions on international travel as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The flagship junior event, which attracts more than 600 of the world’s finest junior players was scheduled to take place in Birmingham from 3-7 January.
“We are hugely disappointed to have to cancel next year’s British Junior Open,” said Mark Williams, CEO at England Squash.
“The logistics of safely staging an international tournament with 600 junior competitors from more than 50 different countries during the current conditions makes it untenable, particularly with the uncertainty caused by travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for those players entering from their respective countries.
“This decision to cancel the event was made after the organising committee explored all other options to safely host this historic tournament. We remain hopeful that we can stage the event in 2023."
Frequently asked questions regarding the cancellation:
Why is the BJO cancelled when all restrictions have been lifted in the UK?
Whilst restrictions in the UK have been lifted, there is a different story abroad where many nations remain under lockdown and have had varying success with their vaccination programmes. With key organising commitments looming, there is too much uncertainty around which nations will be able to attend.
The UK Government is still imposing travel restrictions, operating a green, amber and red list for countries. Out of the 55 different nations that previously entered the 2019 event, only 6 are currently on the UK Governments green list for travel (New Zealand and Australia are on but require extensive isolation periods upon return). Again, whilst this might change by December, there is too much uncertainty with key organising commitments looming.
Why can’t we wait and see what changes?
Key financial commitments required to host the event are due by September including the hiring of an all glass court, staffing costs and international travel plans.
In order to commit to the budgetary requirements, key sponsorship deals need to be agreed by September which under the current landscape would be very unlikely.
Why can’t we move the event until later in the season?
Moving the event in the calendar was not a feasible option with Birmingham University requiring the main show court hall for exams between March and June.
Moving the event would also clash with several other competitions and events that are due to be rescheduled following the pandemic.
There is no guarantee of commitment from other nations to a new date as calendars vary across the leading squash nations.
Will the event return in 2023?
Our hope is that the competition will return in 2023. We will allow as much time as possible before making a decision, however it will all depend on the circumstances at the time.
Is there another event planned in its place?
Yes, we have agreed in principle for Edgbaston Priory and Brimingham to host the British Junior Championships in its place. This will replace the BJO in the usual dates of 3-6 January. More information to be published soon.